You have to do nothing to take care of your Life. Actually, Life has always been taking care, is taking care, and will take care of you!
At a coffee shop the other day, two friends were catching up at a table that was very close to mine. I was immersed in checking Facebook on my phone. But something one of them said to the other caught my attention. He said, “My Life is not in my hands anymore. I have to take care of my family, my parents, my sister who is going through a divorce, and I have to work by butt off trying to achieve my targets at work. It is insane, but I am no longer living my Life. I am constantly running, earning, providing for and serving others. I feel so lost, so overworked, so stressed – all the time!”
Many of us may well be in this person’s position. We may have the same feeling that we seem to be alive only so that we can provide for other people. And perhaps we are tired of such an existence. Some may even be suffering. To be sure, this is a very natural feeling when we are overwhelmed by the challenges we face and the responsibilities that we carry.
The way to deal with this situation, if you are feeling this way, is to stop giving yourself too much importance. A fundamental belief that comes in the way of our living our lives fully, totally, is the view that we have to take care of ourselves and of others ‘dependent’ on us. There’s this huge protector-provider role that we all have self-imposed upon ourselves. Or a better way to say it is that we have self-assumed this role. And so we go about our lives obsessed with an avoidable sense of self-importance. We believe every problem around us needs our immediate, urgent attention__and resolution. That everything from money to succor, in our immediate circle of influence, must be provided for by us. And when it doesn’t happen that way, as it often may not, we feel something’s wrong with us, or with creation, or both and so we grieve, agonize and suffer!
Osho, the Master, says, and only he could have said it so well: “If the whole existence is one, and if existence goes on taking care of trees, of animals, of mountains, of oceans__from the smallest blade of grass to the biggest star__then it will take care of you too. Once you have started seeing the beauty of Life, ugliness starts disappearing. If you start looking at Life with joy, sadness starts disappearing. You cannot have heaven and hell together, you can have only one. It is your choice.”
So observe what’s causing you stress just now. And let it go. Let go of your self-assumed need to be problem-solver, protector and provider. Instead just be. And then you will discover that creation will take care of you, and all that you call your own.
To be free from stress, pressure, worry, pain and sorrow, you need to go within and find the real you!
There are three layers of each of us. Imagine yourself to be a Russian Matryoskha nesting doll which is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The first, outermost, you which is attached to all the material things in Life__that which is also trying to possess, protect and control all these things. The second, immediately inner, you which recognizes and is aware of a larger cosmic design__but still leans towards possession, protection and control of all the things acquired in a lifetime. The third, the core, you which does not see itself as separate from creation and in which your Godseed really is. All the pressure, the stress we take on ourselves is because we are playing on our Life’s surface layer! Think about your worries, for example. You worry about your house, your car, your job, your business, your bank balance, your insurance claim, your Visa__and such. And any threat to any of them causes you to be under pressure, be worried, be stressed. As you advance in Life, with age and experience, you realize that there’s more to Life than material things and see a larger cosmic design, you appreciate it, and so your focus__and perhaps concerns__begin to include more meaningful things like your health, your family time, your passions, your causes or your beliefs. You feel you need to ‘invest’ in the quality of your Life than focusing only on the ‘quantity’ of whatever you have in Life. This phase is what is erroneously, and historically, called the “mid-Life crisis”. Please know that this is NO crisis. This is the biggest opportunity. Because someone, actually Elliott Jaques, a Canadian psychologist, called it so in 1965, we have believed it to be one! Hence while we see that our lives are perhaps pre-designed, we are worried about our time on this planet ticking away and so rush to go on to further control, further possess and further protect our lifetime’s acquisitions. Instead of reaching outward one more time, which we already know is the source of much pressure and stress, try going one layer below. The third you, your core doll in your personalized Matryoshka nesting doll set, is where you will find complete peace. Arriving here is when you will find no pressure, no want, no worry, no sorrow, and complete, unadulterated bliss. This is the layer that insulates you from all the chaos and turbulence in your Life. This is when you can feel__and therefore say__that you are capable of living in this world and yet being above it! Or when you can claim to live in the world but not be of it, as the Bible says.
This really means that when you are the outermost doll, which we all are, when we are emerging into early adulthood with starry eyes, dreams, wants, aspirations, lusts and desires, you are individualistic. Your worries are about you. Your wants are about you and your loved ones. But when you go deeper, to the next doll, you do see that things have been happening much beyond your own control and imagination. You see the design. You may deny it. But you can’t claim to have been untouched by it. It is only when you encounter the third doll, the real you, that you see how you are Creation, the Universe and the God, that you have always been seeking!
The beauty of Life lies in understanding that you have both the ‘essence’ and ‘presence’ of creation – a.k.a God – in you.
We are all created with the essence of God in us. Yet, not realizing this miraculous grace, we continuously seek God’s presence in our lives. We run from temple to mosque to church. From idols to godmen. Resultantly, we grieve. Because how can you find what you seek outside of you, when all along, it is within you? The presence of creation, of God, according to me, can be found only when we are present in the NOW. Life’s what’s happening to you right now. Are you there?
When you are in the now, you can feel the Godliness in you. You can experience the miracle called you. You can see the manifestation of the Universe’s creative energy in you. The ‘essence’ of this energy is your ability to see, hear, touch, feel, speak, move about, apply your mind, feel love, touch another Life. Without this energy, we would all merely exist like a rock does. The fact that you are able to live a Life apart from, and beyond, inanimate objects, which are also manifestations of creation, is evidence of the Godliness in you.
So, stop seeking the presence of a God outside of you. Look within, and you will find all that you need. Osho, the Master, said this simply yet profoundly, “There’s no God. Only Godliness.” Celebrate creation’s essence, the Godliness, in you! Have a great day ahead!
Prayer in the purest sense is an expression of gratitude for all that you have and is an offering, of anything, including yourself, to the Universe.
I know someone who is never available for any conversation or meetings. Every time we try to connect with him he’s either at work (which is for about 5 hours a day) or he is performing poojas, worshipping. He’s runs a small business and by his own admission, performs 8 prayer rituals a day, in three spells, over 12 hours. Is he happy, I asked him one day. “Hardly. Business is tough. A lot of money is stuck with debtors. I am continuously in prayer trying to seek a way out,” he said.
To each, his or her own way. Especially in matters concerning faith and prayer. But Zen offer a beautiful perspective on prayer. And it is worth understanding and thinking about.
Zen Buddhism says that true prayer is when no petition, no wish, is made, when no assistance is sought, but when mindfulness is practised. Through such practice, you offer whatever you have, a flower, an incense stick, or maybe even yourself, to something higher than yourself. What can be and is greater than you? Creation. Creation is the higher energy. So, offering yourself to Creation, makes you be one with the Universe. When you offer yourself you are expressing your gratitude for your creation and everything that you have. You are saying – “You created me. Thanks. I am offering everything I have, mindfully, consciously, with all my being, to you.” That’s when you truly unite with the Universal energy and are soaked in its brilliance and abundance.
The popular notion that prayer is an appeal to an “external, invisible” God is a by-product of how religion has come to be practised over many centuries. Maharishi Patanjali had demystified this in one of his works, perhaps at the beginning of the Common Era, where he equated God to be a mere clothes peg. Just as you would hang a coat on a clothes peg on the wall, we have been taught to pray looking to a “non-existent” God. He says, God is an invention, because, if God isn’t there, who will you pray to? But just as you would have learnt to hang your coat elsewhere if there were no clothes peg, you must learn the value of prayer, and develop the ability to pray, in the purest, truest sense. When you pray, as a means of complete surrender to Creation, then you don’t need a God, you are the prayer and you are one with who you pray to. God, he says is for beginners. Like when you are learning cycling, you need the small wheels on either side of the bicycle’s rear wheel to help you balance. But once you have mastered cycling, you don’t need those two small wheels jutting out – you discard them and that helps you ride freely. So, it is with prayer. The more you learn to pray, unconditionally, humbly, as a thanksgiving, the more peaceful you become.
True prayer is totally non-ritualistic and non-demanding. It imposes no conditions. It asks for nothing from you – not your time, not your offerings. You don’t need to fast nor do you need to give up or abstain from anything! It is not what you do out of fear (that God will punish you if you don’t pray) or out of greed (I want this or that – grant me my wish!). It is always about being in the moment. The moment that you choose to offer your gratitude to Creation for all that you have and are endowed with – that moment itself is your prayer. You can be anywhere in that moment – you could even be seated on the potty! Also, there is no price to be paid in prayer and there are no rewards to be claimed. When you pray, you pray. And that prayerful moment, when gone through with all humility and gratitude, is itself the reward, the treasure, the fortune!